If there was a film I was looking forward to more than any other film in this first half of the year, it would be “The Great Gatsby.” Having just read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s highly acclaimed novel for my college literature class—and being a huge fan I might add—this was an adaptation I had to see. I will minimize my biased opinion between the literature and film as much as possible, but I will say that the film did not beat my original readings experience. By no means does this mean that the film was a failure in delivering the classic novel’s charm and voice, because it did. Maybe in time I will think otherwise, for this film is far different than any film I have seen before.
Our film is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire), a bonds salesman in Long Island New York during Prohibition. Nick finds himself in a part of town where his neighbor’s homes tower over his small unappreciated cottage, one of these homes belong to Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Gatsby is a man of wealth and charm beyond belief and quickly befriends his new neighbor Nick. Through the film we see Gatsby—who appeared to be a stable and powerful figure—unfold into a human desperately longing for something untold. Daisy Buchannan (Carey Mulligan) is just that something. And through love triangles and betrayals we have “The Great Gatsby,” one of the biggest hallmarks of a story in American history.
Baz Luhrmann transforms the 1920s into a vivid, colorful, and loud world bumping with 2013’s pop culture and music and I found myself overwhelmed with this imaginary figment of how life could have been. This director likes to change reality into something completely different and original and I simply loved what he did with the time period, but I can understand if it appears bizarre to some. Visually the film is flawless, everything shines and sparkles and the modern soundtrack, featuring Jay-Z, Beyonce, and other thriving pop stars, make their way into the world of “The Great Gatsby” and the thing is…it all works.
The film is without a doubt worth the watch, the acting is exceptional with DiCaprio and Joel Edgerton standing out among the others, breathing vast life into already lively characters. Although fans of the original “realism” of the novel might be taken aback, I assure that by the closing of the film you will be adjusted to the rampant nature of the film that is Baz Luhrmann.